ANH Academy Week


21-24 June, Addis Ababa 2016



June 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – for five days the global community of interdisciplinary researchers and research-users working at intersection of agriculture-food systems, health and nutrition convene in Ethiopia; to learn, share and strengthen collaborative partnerships with the goal of improving nutrition and health. The first annual Agriculture, Nutrition & Health Academy Week is held in Addis Ababa to facilitate African participation with attendees from around the world and comes just a week after the release of the Global Nutrition Report 2016, which warns that ‘malnutrition and diet are by far the biggest risk factors for the global burden of disease.’

The ANH Academy grew from a commitment to build interdisciplinary capacity and foster a community of researchers working in agriculture and food systems, health and nutrition. Founded by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and the Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) research initiative, the ANH Academy – of which membership is free – facilitates learning and sharing among researchers working at the intersection of agriculture, nutrition, and health.  

This is no small challenge; globally, undernutrition is a cause of around 3.1 million deaths per year – nearly half of all deaths in children under five - and stunts the growth of a further 165 million children. At the same time, diet related chronic diseases are rapidly on the rise even amongst the poor in low and middle income countries. Agriculture and food systems too are transforming rapidly driven by food and oil price volatility, environmental change, the changing demand for food driven by economic development, increasing urbanization and changes in lifestyle and consumption patterns. Making agriculture and food systems sustainable and healthy is one of the top policy priorities and is central to the Sustainable Development Goals agenda. As Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition-Sensitive Development at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Principal Investigator for the IMMANA programme notes; ‘to achieve these goals, we need to understand the interactions between agriculture-food systems and nutrition and health, and to have tools that allow us to predict the effects of agricultural-food system change and innovation on health and nutrition outcomes.  This requires collaboration across disciplines and sectors, recognition of which is reflected in the objectives of the ANH Academy.’

The aims of the ANH Academy are to:

  1. Share innovative research in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health;
  2. Stimulate the development and harmonisation of new research;
  3. Help strengthen the capacity of the research community to undertake inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research;
  4. Facilitate the uptake of robust evidence in policies and programming in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health.


The programme for the ANH Academy Week features contributions from a diverse array of leading thinkers at the nexus of agriculture, nutrition and health research and policy. Keynote speakers include Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and former Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources; Shawn Baker, Director of Nutrition at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Haris Gazdar, Senior Researcher at the Collective for Social Science Research.

The Academy Week events, in Addis Ababa, begin with two days of training sessions-- Learning Labs-- covering a broad selection of impact measurement methods and skills, as well as sessions focusing on interdisciplinary research, gender-sensitive interventions and getting published, among others.

The Learning Labs are followed by a three day Scientific Conference on Agri-Health Research. Speakers will deliver oral and poster presentations around six major themes:

  • Agriculture and Nutrition Linkages
  • Agriculture and Sustainable Diets
  • Health Impacts of Animal Sourced Foods
  • Women, Households and Nutrition
  • Markets, Value Chains and Nutrition
  • Determinants of Diets and Nutrition

The event has proven to be very popular and as Dr. Kadiyala reflects; ‘we are really inspired by the interest and initiative shown by the scientific community in the ANH Academy Week.  Institutions from over twenty countries and a wide range of disciplines will be represented at these events, reflecting the complex challenges facing us and the collaborations required to tackle these headlong.’   

The ANH Academy Week expands on the successful history of the five LCIRAH conferences, as well as events and activities by A4NH, and is part of one of three workstreams of IMMANA.

A4NH helps realize the potential of agricultural development to deliver gender-equitable health and nutritional benefits to the poor. The program is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The ANH Academy is part of A4NH’s strategy to strengthen the capacity of national and CGIAR researchers and research institutes to conduct high quality agriculture, nutrition and health research through the design and delivery of innovative learning materials and approaches. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its research is carried out by 15 research centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations.  

The IMMANA research initiative, funded with UKaid from the UK government and coordinated through LCIRAH aims to accelerate the development of a robust scientific evidence base needed to guide changes in global agriculture to feed the world’s population - projected to hit nine billion by 2050 - in a way that is both healthy and sustainable. Through offering competitive research grants and fellowships for early career scientists, as well as promoting networking in the ANH Academy, IMMANA seeks to strengthen the capacity of young researchers and facilitate international collaboration to stimulate the development, sharing and adapting of new and existing innovative methods and metrics for understanding the critical linkages between agriculture and nutrition.


Image: 'Addis Skyline'. Creative commons licence. Credit: Babak Fakhamzadeh